dir. Pat Higgins
Horror typically works well when it’s mixed with other genres and Powertool Cheerleaders vs the Boyband of the Screeching Dead (2022) attempts to give us a horror/comedy/musical all rolled into one.
Wasting no time in getting stuck in the first 15 minutes is an intense plot package involving Emily (Charlie Bond) forming a cheerleading group for a TV talent show, despite her family’s dark past regarding the sport. There’s also a dead granny, a cursed wishing necklace, a love story and a cheerleader to fit every stereotype you can think of.
The film is also packed with plenty of songs – which are mostly used to cram even more plot or backstory into the 95-minute runtime – but none of them quite hit the catchiness of other horror musicals such as Anna and the Apocalypse (2017).
It’s not until the final 15 minutes that the titular cheerleaders finally get their power tools and things move into the full-on gorefest that the title suggests. As such although it aims at several genres, the film struggles to hit any of them successfully, resulting in a surreal experience that feels similar to a feature-length episode of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (2004).
© Kim Morrison